How can artificial intelligence (“AI”) help you? Cleaning out the garage or basement? Reorganizing your closet? Organizing your family photographs? Some readers are experiencing anxiety just reading those words much less actually trying to complete those tasks. But AI is not going to help in those scenarios.
Here’s another anxiety generator – reorganizing and cleaning out your company file server. Imagine how good that would feel, especially if AI did it all. Sorry, but that is not likely to happen either. At least not on its own. But you if you want to achieve the significant benefits of well organized, accessible information, here are some tips for such a large, complex project.
Have a clear idea of what “cleaned up and well organized” means and have consensus throughout the company. Is there a current structure that seems to work best among the many filing methods used across your company? There are always competing visions and methods, but one is usually a clear winner for its logical order and simplicity. Focus on that method as the goal.
Identify the most critical repositories and start with those rather than plan a top to bottom reorganization. What are the files or documents that really drive your company; customer contracts, project files, accounting records, employee files? It might be nice to clean up or clear out a folder full of files for a former subsidiary, but that can wait.
Determine if the critical repositories would function better in a true document management system instead of sitting on an open, accessible (aka subject to accidental moves, renaming or deletions) shared network drive. Then if that is the case, determine if that document management system should hold only the final version or all the drafts too. This is what would be known as a “System of Record” versus a Collaborative Content Management system.
Now line up your resources, human or technology. You will want to use both types. You can use AI to take a first pass, but you will still need humans to check and confirm files. There might be zip files full of other files – to split or not to split. There could be files that are support for other files but also exist as duplicate stand-alone files. Humans are best able to work through these issues. You need technology tools to help present the humans with the issues and help them efficiently make the decisions.
Lastly, set realistic timing goals. This is not a project that typically can be completed over a weekend. Remember that your human resources have other responsibilities and that this work will be considered filler work. Also remember that some people are not going to be comfortable making broad decisions on issues that come up so have a project lead. Realistic goals mean months not weeks.
At the end of this task, and it is a large task, you will experience some euphoria. You will also experience the rath of some co-workers that just don’t like change or the new plan. But they may have been the ones that blazed their own trail before and created the hornets nest in the first place. Keep on top of the new structure and use available tools to monitor where new files are going and new folders that are being created. Just like that newly organized closet, this is going to feel Great when you are done but keep up the new habits.
Millennia Group provides workflow and document management solutions and services to a wide range of companies and industries. For more information visit our website or contact us.